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Document Abstract
Published: 2011

Food for thought: exploring food security in the Pacific

Mariculture and enhanced agriculture are vital to deter food insecurity in the Pacific
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The Pacific faces many challenges in terms food availability and affordability. This paper investigates the current status of food systems in the Pacific and looks at the changes required for achieving a food secure future.

The document points that:
  • the two pillars of food production in the Pacific are subsistence agriculture and inshore fisheries
  • rural food security is at risk from urbanisation, land tenure issues, and increasing resource scarcity from the Pacific’s high population growth
  • in addition, the impact of climate change is predicted to bring stronger, more frequent cyclones and prolonged droughts
  • as a result, imports are increasingly required to fill the dinner plates

The paper argues that achieving productivity improvements in the face of the above pressures requires strong institutions, adoption of green revolution technologies, and a particular focus on the development of new crop varieties.

Moreover, the author underscores that sharing best practice traditional techniques among Pacific island countries can improve regional food security. However, the effectiveness of traditional techniques should be improved through research to build future resilience.

Further, the document presents the following policy implications:
  • urban gardening programs are a cost effective way to improve food security
  • improving security of tenure will be beneficial, especially for commercial agriculture
  • one industry that has potential is mariculture - increased participation by Pacific island countries in tuna fishing will boost urban food security
  • focusing on a range of high value agricultural commodities will help the region realise its comparative advantage
  • increasing processing capacity to develop value-added products would boost export revenues and help overcome trade quarantine issues
  • investing in infrastructure and breaking the stranglehold of shipping and other infrastructural monopolies is highly recommendable
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